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Taiwan share prices break 7,900 mark

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Share prices in Taiwan closed at their highest level in over 10 months yesterday as the main board's benchmark index rose nearly a percent on gains in financial stocks.

The benchmark TAIEX closed up 67.19 points, or 0.85 percent, at 7,923.16 on turnover of NT$89.59 billion after trading between a low of 7,880.29 and a high of 7,929.97.

It was the first time the index had finished above the 7,900-point threshold since March 30, 2012, when it closed at 7,933.00.

Financial stocks led the rally, gaining 3.3 percent, on optimism over new measures hammered out by securities regulators from Taiwan and China last week.

The new measures, which still need to be finalized before they can take effect, are aimed at promoting reciprocal investment and allowing a limited number of Taiwanese securities firms to set up full-service joint ventures in several major Chinese cities.

Construction stocks also gained ground, closing up 1.6 percent on a rise in the number of new construction projects and better-than-expected sales in the real estate market.

In the electronics sector, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chip maker, saw its share price gain 1.48 percent to close at NT$103, the highest in 12 years.

MediaTek Inc., one of Taiwan's leading integrated circuit (IC) designers, gained 0.15 percent to close at NT$325 while F-TPK Holding Co., a leading touch-panel maker in Taiwan, rose 0.79 percent to close at NT$509.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC lost 1.55 percent to close at NT$285.5.

Ke Meng-cong, vice president of SinoPac Securities Co., said the favorable initiatives that emerged from the cross-Taiwan Strait financial regulatory meeting last Tuesday continue to drive financial shares higher and lift the broader index.

Ke expected the broader index to likely face some consolidation as it approached the 8,000-point mark.

All eyes are watching whether the TAIEX will exceed 8,000 today or tomorrow, prior to the Lunar New Year break.

Wednesday will be the last trading day before the New Year's to leave room for settlement by banks, whose last business day is Friday. All businesses, including the Taiwan Stock Exchange, will resume operation on Feb. 18.

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